As the multi-instrumentalist behind Circuit des Yeux, Chicago’s Haley Fohr has become known for her haunting folk explorations.
This year she has shown the world another side of her creative spirit in the form of alter ego Jackie Lynn, an outlaw country musician with a colorful past. As the story goes, Tennessee-born Jackie Lynn took a bus up to Chicago in 2010 and settled on the city’s south side where she built a drug empire out of an automobile shop and hosted lavish parties before disappearing as mysteriously as she first arrived, leaving only a red-sleeved recording in her wake.
Created in collaboration between Fohr and Bitchin Bajas’ Cooper Crain and released as Jackie Lynn’s “self-titled” debut earlier this month, the recording in question contains an intoxicating mix of dark, stripped-down electronics and Western twang, courtesy of Fohr’s Gibson 1968 B25 12-string guitar, a Roland CR-78 analog drum machine (the same used by Suicide on their first album), and numerous hard-to-find synths from Crain’s extensive collection.
Adding another layer of “mystique” to the story of Jackie Lynn, Fohr has now revealed a mini-documentary about the life and times of the fictional musician. Directed by Julia Dratel, the 8-minute video features several songs from the album and interviews with a “talent scout” who happened upon Jackie Lynn at a country and western bar, a former roommate/coworker, a fellow musician, and a concert photographer that reminisces, “She took being a woman and made it into a loaded gun.” Even Circuit des Yeux makes an appearance. Interspersed between the dialog are shots of Jackie Lynn trekking through Chicago to an unexpected destination.
Taken as a whole, the film not only provides an innovative glimpse into the album and its gritty aesthetic, but with its women-only cast, it winks at the kind of “PBS-worthy” music documentaries that often feature insight scores of male artists, academics, and industry experts, while women comprise a small fraction, if any, faces on screen.
Check out the full video below. Jackie Lynn is available for purchase now through Thrill Jockey Records.